The Deeper Meaning Behind Labrinth’s “Mount Everest”

The meaning behind Labrinth’s “Mount Everest” is not found in its lyrics—they are too easily deceptive. Beyond the proud words, the real meaning of the 2019 hit lies in the song’s anthemic beat as it shakily climbs the trembling arrangement. It can be found as the composition becomes frenzied and the facade begins to fade.

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The Origins

Appearing on British singer-songwriter Labrinth’s third studio album, the 2019 released Imagination & the Misfit Kid, “Mount Everest” sounds boastful and arrogant in its lyrics, but the words offer a lesson. Labrinth–born Timothy Lee McKenzie–explained in a statement upon the track’s release that the song “is dedicated to achieving everything and realizing it means nothing.

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“You hope that gloating would validate the time you spent accumulating all these meaningless things,” he continued. “But behind the cracks of the mask you hold up is someone that realizes the truth and wishes to be free. You say all these things like you believe them, hoping they could quiet the truthful noise in your mind. And then you finally realize… that all the things you left behind to be at the top of the world were available to you at the beginning. And thus the death of the old you begins.”

Not long after the song’s release, “Mount Everest” appeared on the HBO teen drama Euphoria, a series on which Labrinth was a season one composer. The hip-hop-electronic-soul composition accompanied several of his other original works on the show’s score.

“I became involved with scoring Euphoria because I met the show creator Sam Levinson, who was a fan of my work and he really wanted me to get involved,” he shared of his involvement in the series. “I said yes to being a part of Euphoria after speaking with Sam and seeing his passion for the project— and without even seeing an episode. Scoring a TV show is something I have always wanted to do. I love score in TV and Film so really wanted to delve into this experience. Sam wanted me to be authentic and do what I would instinctively do for myself.”

“Mount Everest” was not an instant success upon its release. The song finally charted after it went viral on TikTok nearly a year after it dropped.

The Lyrics

Despite being nearly 30,000 feet high, Labrinth sings Mount Everest ain’t got shit on me against a cinematic arrangement, repeating once more Mount Everest ain’t got shit on me / ‘Cause I’m on top of the world / I’m on top of the world, yeah.

Even the world’s tallest building, Burj Dubai, at well over 2,000 feet tall, doesn’t have shit on him, he sings. You could touch the sky, but you ain’t got shit on me, he continues, ‘Cause I’m on top of the world / I’m on top of the world, yeah.

The song builds into a whirlwind of chilling synths as Labrinth wails swear, swear / swear, swear in between a persistent trill. In between a barrage of haunting Tell ’ems, he sings the lines I burn down my house and build it up again / I burn it down twice just for the fun of it / So much money I don’t know what to do with it / I don’t pick up my phone, even though I’m worth the time / I got me one gun and an alibi / So much love that the whole thing feel like a lie.

It is difficult to look past the song’s braggadocious lyrics, especially when the flood of I don’t need nobody closes out the track. But there is a desperation to the song as a vicious beast of synths of rhythms is born from the explosive track, suggesting that all this success has gone belly up and these pedestals at new heights are quickly crumbling.

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